A CLAYTONS SPECIAL EVENT
Claytons turns 40
The team at Claytons are proud to announce that we celebrated our 40th Anniversary in 2022. The memorable milestone was marked with an exclusive event of fun and festivities for all.
Claytons was founded by Paul Bradbury in 1982 when he began turning out kitchens in the garage of his home in Niddrie, Victoria. A few years later, John Driscoll and Glenn Earl joined the business, and their entrepreneurial partnership established Claytons as a solid manufacturing entity. When Paul left the trio in 2005 after a fair stint together, he did so to pursue other ambitions within the industry. This event saw John Driscoll and Glenn Earl take the reins as Managing Director and Director, respectively. Together, they have successfully steered the company to become one of the largest manufacturers of joinery in Australia today.
The backstory to Claytons dates to the 1970s when these three wise teenagers met.
Paul Bradbury grew up in Niddrie, Victoria and began his working life as an apprentice chef whilst still in year 10 at school. He quickly found he disliked the hours and took on an apprenticeship as a cabinetmaker instead at his Uncle’s business where he won ‘Apprentice of the Year’ awards a couple of times. At the time he was also dissuaded by his family from joining the army as a potential career path. Being a teenager Paul played cricket and football for clubs in Essendon and it was there that he met John and Glenn. So, their friendship ensued.
Glenn Earl grew up outside Shepparton in Katandra West, Victoria. As a country boy, he was commissioned to work on the family farms when he left school. In his time off from milking cows and farm work he travelled to Melbourne to play cricket or footy on the weekends. Glenn also had an inkling of joining the police force but that did not eventuate. Instead, at the age of 17 Glenn moved to Melbourne to play cricket for Essendon. To support himself he found new digs and quickly began looking for work. As luck would have it, Paul Bradbury spotted him on the cricket field and offered him a job with an immediate start. Glenn recalls it as a ‘sliding door moment’ in his life, as it firmly established his direction from there on.
John Driscoll grew up in Essendon, Victoria and was let go from his School in year 10. However, he was an enthusiastic teen with a plan. He chose to attend Tech school and describes that too as “like being in a penitentiary”. So, he took the first job he could and became an apprentice wood machinist (cabinetmaker), and worked on the floor in four different roles over four years, learning the ropes. He also claims to have won two ‘Apprentice of the Year’ awards. John was 15 years old when he met Paul who was 17 at the time. Together they recollect their meeting and the period that followed fondly.
Paul Bradbury was driven and took on a lot of responsibility at an early age. He was 20 years old when he started the Claytons Kitchens business in November 1982. The name ‘Claytons’ was a nickname he couldn’t get rid of (it had links to a famous drink that was advertised at the time) so, he used it to brand the business. The first builder on record was Craig and Paul Millson’s company Orbit Homes. It is a testament to our business, our culture and our success that 40 years later they are still one of our loyal customers.
To get started Paul invested in an edging iron and a 600mm docking saw that was labour-intensive to use. He also borrowed a router. In 1983 Paul moved the business from his home to a 200sqm factory in Reservoir before also acquiring the factory next door. In 1986 he relocated the business again to a larger 800sqm factory in Essendon. It was at this time that Glenn Earl joined the business. Alongside him were two Claytons stalwarts, Alex Weston and Neil Wallace also joined the company; Alex continues to work with us today whilst Neil retired in early 2022 to discover Queensland.
In 1988 Paul made a huge commitment when he purchased a Gabbiani Beam Saw, a Biesse Point-to-Point CNC Machine and an Edge Bander. In 1991 he moved the business to a Campbellfield premises of 2000sqm, where he made another large investment in beam saws and a Morbidelli Point-to-Point CNC Machine.
In 1996 John Driscoll joined the team as Manufacturing Director with plans to grow the business. Within one year, Claytons had three factories. In 1998, the company relocated to a purpose-built factory in Laverton with the investment and capacity to manufacture 100 kitchens per week, becoming one of the largest kitchen manufacturers in Victoria. In 2003 Claytons opened a branch in Queensland.
2005 marked a significant change to the lineup when Paul Bradbury moved on to adopt other ventures. Since then, John Driscoll and Glenn Earl have driven the business forward.
In 2011 the group acquired Marbut Stone in Campbellfield to parallel cabinetry production with quality stone benchtops and splashbacks. 2012 saw the launch of the South Australia branch of Claytons, followed by New South Wales in 2013.
The last move for Claytons Headquarters was in 2018 to Truganina, Victoria, where our new plant is capable of manufacturing 250 kitchens a week in the most efficient, responsible and environmentally conscious manner. We are a strong team today, trained and dedicated to providing excellence in Claytons’ products and services, always ensuring customer satisfaction.
Little did they know, at the time, that with sports as the common denominator between them, these three wise men had laid the roots of a long-lasting friendship. One that has, taken the Claytons brand to the top in manufacturing and given it due recognition.
At Claytons we pride ourselves on shaping a culture of fun, friendship, tolerance and inclusivity among our values. In celebrating 40 years of success, we are celebrating our loyal customers and our people. The tributes have certainly poured in and we are grateful for that.
We appreciate the long-standing relationships we have held with our builders and suppliers. We are also extremely proud of the staff who have served the company over the years and those who have stayed with us since the early days. Together we have stood the test of time – the 40 years, that is.
We congratulate Paul, John and Glenn on their vision, courage and commitment to their craft in an industry that spares no lesser folks. The might of their achievement is adorned by our admiration, and we wish them continued success.
Congratulations from all your friends in the industry and the Claytons family.
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